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Lyonnais (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2016-11-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Lyonnais - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 May 2003

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History of Lyonnais

A legend says that the Celtic town of Lugdunum ( Lyon) was founded by two brothers, Momoros and Atepomaros, who settled at the confluency of the Saône and Rhône rivers where they decided to build a town. A flock of crows landed beside them, which was of course of good omen, so they called the town the crow hill, Lugdunum. A more probable etymology relates Lugdunum to God Lug.

In 43 BP, Munacus Plantius established a Roman colony in Lugdunum. A few years later, Agrippa was assigned by Emperor August (Emperor from 27 BP to 14) the administrative organization of Gaul, and chose Lugdunum as its capital in 27 BP. Five Roman ways radiated from Lugdunum to Aquitaine (south-west), the valley of Rhine (north-east), Arles (south) and Italy (south-east). Auguste often stayed in Lyon. Emperor Claude was born in Lyon in 10.
In 280, Emperor Probus (Emperor from 276 to 282) suppressed the monopoly of Lugdunum on wine commerce. The administrative reform proclaimed by Emperor Diocletian (Emperor from 284 to 305) in 293 made of Lugdunumthe capital of the Provincia Lugdunensis.
In the 5th century, Lyonnais was the center of the Kingdom of Burgundy, whose capital was Vienne, located 30 km south of Lyon.

The province of Lyonnais was formed in 1531 by merging several feudal states, most of them having been confiscated to the Constable of Bourbon after he had betrayed King Francis I. Those states were Lyonnais sensu stricto, Beaujolais, Forez and Franc-Lyonnais. After the confiscation, Lyonnais was used by the last Valois as an apanage and eventually incorporated to the royal domain by Louis XIII.

Ivan Sache, 11 May 2003

Flag of Lyonnais

The flag of Lyonnais is the banner of arms De gueules au lion à la queue contournée d'argent, au chef cousu d'azur chargé de trois fleurs de lis d'or ("Gules a lion rampant argent armed and langued azure a chief of the third three fleurs-de-lis or"), assigned to the province by Jacques Meurgey in his Notice historique sur les blasons des anciennes provinces de France (Historical note on the coats of arms of the ancient French provinces, 1941).

Meurgey admits that "the use is to ascribe the arms of the town of Lyon to the province of Lyonnais, which has no specific arms". The ancient arms of the Counts of Lyon were D'or au lion de sable, armé et lampassé de gueules "(Or a lion sable armed and langued gules"). The arms of the town of Lyon were "Gules a lion argent". The chief of France was added subsequently, when Lyon was awarded the title of "good town of France" (bonne ville de France).

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2009